Doctor Who #884: End of the Road

"I am sick of her already. Can we deport her? Let's deport her."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Aug.26 2011.

IN THIS ONE... The CIA's back, Friedkin blows himself up, Gwen is deported by John de Lancie, Danes asks for a hooker, Jilly is recruited by the Families, Esther smuggles Jack out of Angelo's house, and oh yeah, someone dies for real.

REVIEW: Sounds like there's a lot happening from the above sentence, but there's a whole lot of waiting around too. We're stuck in Angelo's house for the duration, cutting to Jilly and Oswald for a change of pace (and these characters have been sitting out for a couple episodes). That's fine, so long as characters and plot move forward. There IS some padding here, and a waste of resources. Having Nana Visitor show up to explain what the Families, then blowing her up, is disappointing on several levels, for example. Friedkin's confession repeats a lot of information, as does cluing in his replacement Shapiro. A different character name-dropping "The Blessing" doesn't make it new information.

One of the bigger plot points in the episode is Rex and Esther returning to the CIA. Friedkin inadvertently confesses to framing them because Rex conveniently forgets Gwen told him the contact cameras only worked for her, so that bit's a little rough. John de Lancie as Shapiro is a hoot though, slinging cracks and insults at everyone in his path. Unlike Friedkin, he could actually be a match for Torchwood. In fact, Gwen gets deported for giving too much lip... and for Jack not giving enough. Though we're staying in the house, it does allow for some investigation. Esther is still a pain, incapable of shutting up when asked to, a traitor to the team not because she's particularly loyal to the CIA, but because she's weak and a little dense. Even after she agrees to help Jack escape with the null field technology that allowed Angelo to disregard the Miracle, she shows zero stealth capability and gets her spotted because she shouts Jack's name. The cliffhanger as she tries to manage a panic attack while driving off with Jack bleeding out in the back seat is, I think, a perfect encapsulation of her character to date. Note that Rex, while very resourceful in getting Friedkin's confession, then goes on to act like a complete cabbage head, needing Jack to explain everything as if he were a child. Gah.

Though Gwen's mom has a fun moment on the phone (the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree), Oswald Danes is the main subplot here. There's something at least interesting in the pedophile wanting the companionship of a grown woman, even if he has to pay for it, and something creepy about asking for her to be redhead. Jilly's losing control of him and he could become dangerous (and does by the end of the episode). I'm not convinced by the call girl's dialog, mind you. She doesn't mind getting freaky with this murderous monster, but draws the line at simply playing escort? And then puts her life in danger by antagonizing him? Please. I guess it's a good time for Jilly to bail, though where that leaves Oswald in the grand scheme of things is murky. Plus, CIA vs. evil CIA stuff, the usual thriller business.

- de Lancie has a fun turn, but Esther is the wet blanket that snuffs the fun out of the episode.



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